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The Ericofon in The Netherlands

Thanks to Alfred Klomp for this piece

Don't know if you've ever seen my site, but I have an article about the Ericofoon (as we spell it, but we pronounce it like the English) in Holland here: http://www.alfredklomp.com/telephones/ericofoon/index.htm

Since your website seems to be the internet's primary source of information about the Ericofon, I thought I'd send you a mail to share some of the results of my research on the Ericofoon in Holland. (It's been time, my article has been online since 2004.)

Note that I'm not a real telephone collector; I'm a 24 year old industrial design student who once happened to be intoxicated by old Dutch bakelite telephones. Call me an interested layman. I did some research in the library of our faculty and found that a few people had conducted theses on the Dutch telephone assortment in the 1970's. Some further archive research, along with some cross-checking on Dutch websites, gave some more info. Here are my main findings:

- The Dutch Ericofoons were introduced on the market in 1978 by the PTT (our state phone monopolist back then) as an answer to the flood of aftermarket phones. It was intended as a second phone or bedroom model.
- They were produced in three colours: red, white and mocca;
- 20.000 were ordered in 1978, 60.000 in 1979 and 20.000 in 1980;
- the last ones were sold in 1985;
- the Ericofoon was profoundly unpopular: consumer research indicates this was due to their high rental price, eccentic appearance, and use of a dial key, which felt very outdated in an era when touch-type keys were all the rage;
- Dutch Ericofoons have different internals than the original. The print plate has Rd ("rood", red), Bl ("blauw", blue), Gr ("groen", green) and Gl ("geel", yellow) contacts, which must be unique to the Dutch version. Additional modifications may also have been introduced, since one source says Ericofoons have transmission properties "according to Mol". Mol was an electrical engineer in service of the PTT who defined specific transmission standards in the late 1940's in lieu of the Dutch phone standardisation scheme. I can't say if the Ericofoon was actually *altered* to fit these characteristics, because sources indicate that the Ericofoon was chosen exactly *because* it was a drop-in replacement for existing Dutch phones, so maybe its transition properties were already optimal. (These properties differ from the US/international system; I forgot in which way, but I believe the Dutch microphone was more receptive.) My guess is that they were modified by the Ericsson plant in Gilze-Rijen, but that's just speculation.

There is some more background on my site, but it's in Dutch. I could make a rough translation for you if you'd like.



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